Restoration nearly complete, but dangers remain

More than 1,000 broken utility poles

All across Kentucky, local electric cooperatives are wrapping up massive power restoration efforts five days after an historic windstorm snapped more than 1,000 utility poles and threw trees and other debris into power lines.

From a high of more than 300,000 consumer-members without power on Friday, as of 8pm (eastern) Wednesday, about 2,000 consumer-members remain without service, primarily in Kentucky cave country where restoration could take until the end of the week in the most severely damaged areas. Hundreds of members are without power in Edmonson and Grayson Counties. Much of that area is served by Warren RECC where local crews are working alongside mutual aid crews from several states. At Warren RECC alone, at least 385 broken poles are reported.

“We continue to ask for patience as we restore the remaining areas,” said Kim Phelps, Sr. Dir., Communications and Public Relations. “We are in the stage of restoration where pole replacements, removing trees from power lines, and putting up lines allows us to turn the power on to just a few houses at a time.”

Even as co-ops complete restoration efforts, linemen are still on the job, checking on areas that still have power but where infrastructure is damaged.

“Crews are coming across broken poles where electric service is live,” said Randy Meredith, Director of Safety & Training at Kentucky Electric Cooperatives, the association which supports local co-ops. “We cannot emphasize this enough. Please report such broken poles to your co-op and stay away from these dangerous situations, including damaged trees leaning into electric lines.”

Most of the mutual aid crews from more than 60 sister co-ops in 11 different states are now headed home. Because the national network of transmission and distribution infrastructure owned by electric cooperatives is built to federal standards, line crews from any co-op in America can arrive on the scene ready to provide emergency support, secure in their knowledge of the system’s engineering.

Kentucky-based United Utility Supply Cooperative continues to assist with storm response to cooperatives across the region. Its Cooperative Distribution Center in Louisville is responding with transformers, power lines, poles and all other materials needed to outfit an electric utility.